Registrar candidate addresses university at open fourm

Aimee Burch

Tammy Aagard, candidate for the position of university registrar, presented her vision for the position at an open forum Tuesday afternoon in the Gold Room of the Memorial Union.

Aagard, currently the university registrar at the University of Wyoming-Laramie, began her presentation, titled “The Role of Registrar’s Office in Strategic Enrollment Management,” with a common definition and overview of what her office does.

“Registrars sometimes feel like gatekeepers,” she said, in reference to the roles of registration and retention. “We’re part of a team and strategy.”

Aagard addressed various core strategies of enrollment management often applied to institutions like Iowa State, such as establishing clear enrollment goals and promoting academic success by improving areas like access and transition for students.

“It’s important to provide students with a rich environment in which they have access to the assistance they need to transition into higher education,” Aagard said. She also touched on areas such as achieving and maintaining optimum enrollment numbers.

Aagard discussed areas in which her university improved upon their administrative processes, citing an example of streamlining the process students undergo when withdrawing from a class. She said that the previous process hindered a student’s abilities and proved time consuming.

“We don’t want them to give up,” Aagard said. “We need to provide services and find out what is necessary.”

Aagard cited literature detailing four different structures of enrollment management and outlined how the registrar’s office plays into these established models of administrator, student, academic and market orientations.

In the administrator model, Aagard said it is the registrar’s role to refine processes for registration and the transfer of credit. The role of the registrar in the student model deals more with student communication, analyzing whether or not it is all negative.

“In the past, my only interactions with students were negative in nature, dealing with subjects like suspension,” she said. “We are working to change that. By offering letters of congratulations celebrating accomplishments, it provides positive reinforcement.”

In the academic and market models, Aagard said it is important to maximize relationships with academic departments to work with outcomes while providing data on students who succeed and those who do not.

Aagard then fielded questions from the audience. Bruce Allen, academic adviser in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, asked Aagard what sorts of changes she would consider making to Iowa State’s established enrollment management model.

Citing the familiar adage of “if you build it they will come,” Aagard said it would be important to look more closely at what a student’s end goals are and see if what we are doing is helping them achieve those goals.

“What’s the mix? Are there some majors not thriving? We have seen spikes in certain areas,” she said in response. “It’s never a static situation, where you focus your attention is where you’ll see success and changes.”

When asked by Jane Jacobson, a program manager in the College of LAS, what some of the biggest challenges facing the registrar would be, Aagard said that it will be important to look at responding to accountability issues thrust upon the office by government and accrediting agencies, as well as protecting student privacy and finding creative ways to meet budgetary bottom lines in times of decreasing budgets.

Aagard explained the role the registrar’s office may play in learning communities, saying that she helped implement the Sure Start program at the University of Wyoming-Laramie. This program allows students to pre-enroll in seven to 10 credit hours in high-demand classes. Aagard said they started the program with seven of the high-impact majors and now reach over 40 majors.

“We have higher expectations from students to provide services quickly,” she said. “We have to look at how to prepare the next generation of leaders.”